Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the milestone at a press conference from the Lodge this afternoon.
“Today, with the most recent seven days’ data, we finally hit that mark of a million doses in arms in a week,” he said.
“We’ve been working towards that now for weeks.”
The latest figures put yesterday’s vaccination doses at close to record numbers, with 174,589 vaccines given.
The milestone follows a steady increase in vaccination rates, which several weeks ago were sitting at around 700,000 per week.
Despite this, the nation remains around two months behind the Federal Government’s original vaccination schedule.
Mr Morrison acknowledged “significant challenges” in the early stages of the nation’s vaccination program, but refused to apologise for his failure to meet his own government’s vaccination targets.
“I know Australians would like the vaccination program to be further advanced than it is now,” he said.
He labelled the delays “regrettable” but said they were the result of “many factors”.
He addressed the government’s decision to use AstraZeneca as its primary vaccine, pointing to anticipated difficulties in distributing Pfizer at sub minus-70 degree temperatures across remote Australia.
“I take responsibility for the problems that we have had but I am also taking responsibility for the solutions we’re putting in place and the vaccination rates that we are now achieving,” he said.
In another much-anticipated measure, the first shipment of ramped-up supplies of the Pfizer vaccine has also arrived in Australia this week.
“We’ve gone from 300,000 doses a week escalating to a million doses coming every week with Pfizer,” Mr Morrison said.
To assist in rolling out the more-than-tripled supply, an additional 320 GP clinics across the country will begin administering Pfizer vaccines this week.
More pharmacies will also begin administering the AstraZeneca vaccine.
It comes as more than half of Australia’s population is in lockdown today, with three states battling outbreaks of the Delta variant.
Victoria continues to battle its own Delta outbreak with 22 new cases today, as Premier Daniel Andrews institutes an even tougher border with NSW that sees many of its own residents unable to return.
Meanwhile, the outbreak in New South Wales continues to deteriorate despite almost four weeks of a harsh lockdown affecting millions across Sydney and beyond.
Three regional Central West towns were the latest to enter a snap lockdown overnight after a visit from an infected pet store delivery driver.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has repeatedly pointed the finger at the Federal Government for insufficient vaccine supplies leaving the state vulnerable to the highly contagious Delta variant.
Mr Morrison hit back today, noting that vaccination rates in NSW remain below those achieved in Victoria and some other states.
“I would like to see more AstraZeneca vaccines being distributed through the state-based clinics like Victoria has been able to achieve,” he said.
Asked whether the government would petition ATAGI to change its advice that AstraZeneca be limited to those over 60 in light of current outbreaks, Mr Morrison said it was “a constant appeal”.
“When they made the decision to restrict or to have a preference for those under the age, ultimately, of 60 to have the Pfizer vaccine, they said they made that decision on the balance of risk,” he said.
“Well, it’s for them to now constantly reconsider how that balance of risk applies and provide their advice accordingly.”
Mr Morrison acknowledged the current lockdowns would deliver “a heavy blow” to the Australian economy, but said he was unable to name a final figure for the September quarter.
He insisted that once lockdowns lifted the economy would “bounce back” as it had done previously.